SALEM, Ore. - The woman at the center of an underage stripping scandal defended her mother, who is now in jail after investigators say she knew her underage daughter was dancing at a local club.
Surveillance video from Presley's Playhouse in Salem shows Christina Lopez watching her then 17-year-old daughter, Nicole Madril, perform on stage even though she'd told KATU News she only learned about the dancing after finding some nine-inch heels in the girl's backpack.
Madril said there's a simple explanation for her mother being in that club. She said she called her mother and asked her to bring some money to her so she could buy some food while she was working.
"People think that, oh, her mom is coming in watching her strip naked. That's not right. She came in to see me," Madril said. "I know it's on video. She came in and placed money so I could get something to eat."
When KATU News first spoke to Madril and her mother in December, they never brought up the fact that Lopez had actually been inside Presley's Playhouse. But police say the surveillance footage shows that she was.
Christina Lopez during a December interview with KATU News
Madril said her mother was reluctant to bring her the money but eventually did because Madril insisted. She said her mother tried to convince her to leave.
"She sat down and said, 'You need to get off stage.' And I was like, 'I'm not getting off. You can pull me, you can grab me, you can kick and scream, I'm not getting off.'"
Madril admitted all of this started with her decision to get a job at Presley's, but she said she's talked to her mother since she was arrested, and her mother doesn't hold her responsible.
"She would never blame me," said Madril. "As a mother she would never blame me for anything. She's a great mother."
Salem police say they're just too suspicious of the mother's story and admit Lopez was the first person to call them and report that her daughter was stripping. But they say she never disclosed she visited the club herself.
That, police say, is why Lopez now sits in jail. They say they believe she knew her daughter was stripping for some time and supported it.
Madril said she was stripping to support her 2-year-old daughter.
"I'm the type of parent to do whatever it takes to get food on the table for my daughter and clothes on her back," she said.
Lopez will be in court Monday.
The club says Madril showed a fake ID when she applied for a job. Madril says they never asked for ID.
The club isn't facing criminal charges, but the owner was hit with a citation for hiring a minor.
Police say there is no evidence Lopez was repeatedly in the club while her daughter danced. Police say they know of only one time and it happened on the last day Madril worked there.
Madril says she still plans to continue stripping and has worked at a couple other places in Salem after she turned 18.
She plans to head to Reno, Nev. to work for a couple weeks. She says she's heard she could earn as much as $4,000 a night.